Wetland image
Source: Wetland website.

After Superstorm Sandy, artist Mary Mattingly kept thinking about the homes that had been flooded by sea water, and about the threats posed by extreme storms and sea-level rise.

These concerns inspired her to create a floating piece of art called “Wetland”. First shown on the Delaware River in Philadelphia, the converted houseboat looked like a city row house that had been tipped over and partially submerged.

Mattingly: “… Like a house that was either rising from the water or falling into the water.”

Wetland functioned as a floating classroom, encouraging conversations about climate change. It also demonstrated ways to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and adapt to changing conditions.

Mattingly: “Wetland had chickens for eggs, it had solar energy and rainwater collection.”

But this summer, Wetland met an untimely fate. After major storms, it sank in Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River.

This artist created 'Wetland' to encourage #ClimateChange conversation. #SeaLevelRise Click To Tweet

As Mattingly considers if and how to repair it, she is reminded of people who have lost their homes to flooding and the hard decisions they’ve faced about rebuilding.

So even in its demise, Wetland continues to provoke conversations about adapting to a changing climate.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

AUTHOR
Sarah is a Philadelphia-based writer and editor. She is interested in how people think and talk about the connections between climate change and their individual lives, livelihoods, and communities.

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